Use of NDVI and land surface temperature for drought assessment: Merits and limitations Academic Article uri icon


  • Abstract A large number of water- and climate-related applications, such as drought monitoring, are based on spaceborne-derived relationships between land surface temperature (LST) and the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI). The majority of these applications rely on the existence of a negative slope between the two variables, as identified in site- and time-specific studies. The current paper investigates the generality of the LST–NDVI relationship over a wide range of moisture and climatic/radiation regimes encountered over the North American continent (up to 60°N) during the summer growing season (April–September). Information on LST and NDVI was obtained from long-term (21 years) datasets acquired with the Advanced Very High Resolution Radiometer (AVHRR). It was found that when water is the limiting factor for vegetation growth (the typical situation for low latitudes of the study area and during the midseason), the LST–NDVI correlation is negative. However, when energy is the limiting fact...

publication date

  • January 1, 2010